Welcome to the ballroom! Tyra Banks had a big hill to climb when she stepped in as the new host of Dancing With the Stars in 2020.
The former America’s Next Top Model host made headlines in July 2020 when she was announced as the solo host for season 29 of the show after Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews were unexpectedly let go.
“I’ve been a fan of DWTS since its beginning. The fun mixed with raw emotion, seeing celebrities push past their comfort zones, the sizzling dance performances,” the model said in a statement at the time. “It’s always transported me to my days of turning it up 10 notches on the catwalk. Tom has set a powerful stage, and I’m excited to continue the legacy and put on my executive producer and hosting hats.”
A few weeks into season 29, which premiered in September 2020, Banks commented on the criticism she received after experiencing more than one onscreen misstep.
“Every host messes up. It’s just normal. It’s live TV. If it wasn’t live, there would be no mess-ups,” she exclusively told Us Weekly that month. “Even on America’s Next Top Model, I would mess up and tell my editors to leave it in. That’s what makes things human and makes like live.”
The True Beauty creator noted that part of being a good host is owning the not-so-perfect moments.
“If I didn’t want to mess up, if I wanted to be perfect, I know how to do that. There’s a very clear way as a host that you just read the words and you’re perfect and you know exactly how to do that,” the California native said. “But when you’re relaxed and you keep it real, the mess-ups happen. And the producer in me knows that even though somebody might be like, ‘Oh, my gosh, you’re messing up!’ it’s live, and it’s real. It’s better than being like a doll.”
Banks reflected on her first season while speaking with Us and other reporters following the November 2020 finale, revealing how she’d rate herself if she were one of the show’s judges.
“OK, I’m gonna be Derek [Hough]. ‘Girl, you came out here! You’re, like, ‘Yo, I’m new and I’m gonna do this thing! You know you kind of got your groove, it took you a little while to get it, like around halfway through, girl it was yours, you took it, you were going. Go miss thang!’” she said. “You know how he does that? ‘I give you a 11!’”
When it comes to what she was most proud of as both the DWTS host and an executive producer on the series, Banks added, “I am most proud of just getting through this damn thing and not falling.” She joked that “slipping and sliding” is a real possibility based on her wardrobe. “[I’m] happy that I now feel like I’m so in my bones and I feel like I can be myself.”
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Scroll down to see how some of the other DWTS dancers and judges, including Hough and Witney Carson, feel about Banks after her first season at the helm: